Edith Evangeline Lorenz Hefflinger, 93, of Portland, died peacefully in her home on the morning of Jan. 10. There was a rosary and funeral Mass at St. John Fisher in Portland.
Mrs. Hefflinger was born in Hopkins, Minnesota on May 17, 1923 to Joseph and Mary (Dvorak) Lorenz. The sixth of nine children, she attended school in Eden Prairie. She worked as a waitress at the Hasty Tasty restaurant in Hopkins.
At 18, she left home with her older sister, Beatrice, for a waitressing job in Seattle. It was at the Skyway Café that she met her husband, Richard “Dick” Hefflinger. They married on June 21, 1943, in the Hennepin County town of Hopkins. They lived in Seattle and Coos Bay before settling in Portland in 1948.
Mrs. Hefflinger worked at Good Samaritan Hospital, where she loved visiting with patients and learning about their lives while she cleaned their hospital rooms. She spent 25 years in the accounting department at Georgia Pacific, where she took pride in balancing accounts to the penny.
Mrs. Hefflinger’s favorite “job” by far, however, and her greatest joy in life was raising her family. She was the devoted mother of seven children, with a special relationship to each one. She was known to say the most fun she ever had in life was when her kids were young. She told stories of their childhood on Southeast Tibbets Street and the Alameda neighborhood of Northeast Portland, as well as the train rides they took when their father worked for the Pullman Company. Mrs. Hefflinger loved the spouses of her children as her own, and enjoyed hosting weekly Sunday dinners after her children married and large holiday gatherings in her home as their families grew.
Although she lived in rainy Portland most of her life, Mrs. Hefflinger loved the sunshine. She traveled to Hawaii, Reno, Kah-Nee-Ta Resort on the Warm Springs reservation, and Santa Barbara and San Diego in Southern California. She would go with either children or grandchildren, or bring souvenirs back for them.
Mrs. Hefflinger loved the Oregon Coast. She loved the family home in Seaside, strolling the promenade, building sandcastles, and letting her laughing grandchildren bury her to the neck in sand. Mrs. Hefflinger loved to play tennis and, up until the age of 88, could often be found walking around the track at Wilson High School after attending daily Mass, swimming laps at Harman Pool, or sorting the mail and visiting with customers at her daughter-in-law’s post office in Hillsdale.
Mrs. Hefflinger was always working a 1,000-piece puzzle at home, always with the collaboration of her visiting kids and grandkids. She enjoyed playing board games and cards with them, weekly Sunday bingo, as well as gambling at Portland Meadows or Multnomah Greyhound Park racetracks, or playing slot machines at Spirit Mountain Casino. She loved Swedish meatballs and Chinese food, marathon shopping the day after Christmas, reading Danielle Steele novels, listening to the music of Irish singer Daniel O’Donnell and growing dahlias in her garden. She frequently indulged her famous sweet tooth and was incorrigible in tempting others to partake. She was an avid watcher of “Wheel of Fortune” and “Jeopardy,” and loved solving the mysteries on “Murder She Wrote,” “Matlock” and “Perry Mason.” She was a creative but ruthless practical joker, known for her legendary April Fool’s Day pranks.
In addition to collecting memories, Mrs. Hefflinger was an avid collector of salt and pepper shakers, amassing an impressive collection of over 1,000 pairs throughout her lifetime. She knew and enjoyed sharing the stories about each and every pair. It became a family tradition for her grandchildren to select the pair of their choice when they married. She also had a special affinity for nuns, and she enjoyed collecting nun figurines and sharing her sister Betty’s stories about life as a Catholic nun.
Mrs. Hefflinger was a devoted grandmother to 30 grandchildren, all of whom she loved and treasured, and whose photographs overflowed every mantle and shelf of her home. She made time for every individual grandchild, cherished each one’s unique qualities, and made special memories with each one of them. She kept a closet full of toys and games, in addition to a well-stocked cupboard of Tang, candy, gum, cookies and donuts to share with her grandchildren. Her grandchildren loved to practice playing the organ she kept in her living room. Mrs. Hefflinger hosted memorable sleepovers and funded birthday shopping trips. She attended countless sporting events, graduations, choir concerts, and tap recitals for her grandkids. She was generous with her time, humor and love--proud of each one of her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and their accomplishments. Even when her family grew to include 37 great-grandchildren, Grandma Edith never once missed a birthday.
Mrs. Hefflinger was preceded in death by her husband of 45 years, Richard Hefflinger; her son-in-law, Tom Clodfelter, grandson Gerald (“Jerry Junior”) Hefflinger, Jr.; brothers Joseph Lorenz, Jr., and Francis Lorenz; and five sisters: Magdalene “Mag” Lorenz, Alice Lorenz, Beatrice “Beat” Gardner, Margaret Haworth, and Sr. Betty Lorenz.
Mrs. Hefflinger is survived by her sister, Bernice “Berna” Fasnacht of Shoreline, Washington, and her seven children: Gerald (Angie) Hefflinger; Judy (Paul) Pompili; Patricia (Larry) Schick; James (Paulette) Hefflinger; Robert (Cindy) Hefflinger; Mike (Kathy) Hefflinger; and Barbara Clodfelter. A beloved and devoted grandmother, Mrs. Hefflinger is also survived by 30 grandchildren and 37 great-grandchildren, all of whom she spoke to regularly and loved dearly.
A lifelong and devout Catholic, Mrs. Hefflinger was a faithful parishioner at St. John Fisher Catholic Church, where she attended daily and Sunday Mass up until her final years.
Interment was at Riverview Abbey.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made at a local food bank or for the homeless in Mrs. Hefflinger’s memory:
Portland Rescue Mission
Union Gospel Mission